I remember the dark days all too well. Byte Magazine had a cover story in which they posited that it was just possible that Apple might remain relevant on into the 21st century. This was considered an unusually optimistic prediction. There was no OS X yet. According to Byte, Apple’s best hopes lay in
• OpenDoc, a different approach to documents in which documents would not longer be “of” a specific applicaton; you could borrow bits and pieces of applications to compose or edit or otherwise manipulate your document. Or something like that. Long since dead as rusted doornails, OpenDoc never materialized into anything except a browser named Cyberdog.
• QuickTime, which does persist to this day and is a decent multimedia layer & API on the Mac platform but its Windows incarnation still sucks according to my Windows-using friends; and most movies embedded in web pages are stupid Flash and those that aren’t are far more likely to be .wmv or .avi
• Copland, the OS that at that time was yet to come, which never came.
•AppleScript, probably the best success story of the items mentioned by Byte. AS is still robust and has grown into Automator, is supported by shell scripting, and is implemented by a decent number of apps from little sharewares to industry heavyweights.
• PowerPC, the chip from the Apple-IBM-Motorola consortium that was going to bury the cumbersome antiquated Intel x86. Yeah we see how that worked out. In all fairness, the PowerPC chip series did have its shining moments when it really was out in front of Intel’s best: the G3 when it first arrived on the scene, the G5… but by the mid-2000s neither Motorola nor IBM could deliver a laptop PowerPC chip that would let PowerBooks stay competitive (or they were sticking all their research & development money into other projects) and that was that.